I tend to agree that the peak HP difference (which is what Ford measures and presents in it's literature) is unlikely to be perceived by most drivers. IMHO few of us push the engine to the peak of the HP curve. However, I do believe that some
driving styles will reveal measureable and genuinely perceptible increased acceleration performance
afforded by higher octane.
We all know that octane rating is a measure of a fuel's ability to delay onset of engine knock (detonation) at higher compression ratios or more advanced ignition timing schemes under load (combustion chemistry). We also know that relatively more rapid timing advance, in the absence of detonation, is directly realized as quicker acceleration when a commensurate amount of fuel is provided (physics tells us it takes more energy, e.g. fuel, to accelerate an object more quickly).
The EcoBoost PCM allows the engine to, when demanded by rapid throttle input, maximize timing advance and boost to the limit just short of detonation as determined by sensitive knock sensors (those sensors retard
timing at the barest hint of detonation, far below the threshold detectable to the driver). For lower octane fuel both the rate of increase and total degree of ignition timing advance is less than that for higher octane fuel (short of detonation). Small differences in octane rating (1 or 2 points in the 85-95 octane range) can have a significant effect on detonation-free rate and total ignition timing advance and small degrees of timing advance can have a significant effect on vehicle acceleration all other things being equal.
My point is, a driving style that 'enjoys' relatively rapid acceleration will, IMHO, realize a measureable
, if one prefers) increase in that 'enjoyment' (relatively more rapid rate of acceleration) with higher octane-rated fuels within the ranges recommended for the 2.0 EcoBoost Escape. And all of this within perfectly prudent and legal parameters from a driving safety standpoint.
There's no question, that's not an economical
driving style, physics dictates that more fuel is required to accelerate faster so if one chooses that style it is impossible to also enjoy the better mpg that higher octane combined with less rapid acceleration might
But, if a driver enjoys that driving style and is willing to pay for the privilege ..... well, that when it's nice to drive an EcoBoost that can optimize for a wide range of octane ratings (and nice to have the freedom to exercise the option).
isn't measured in dollars saved, it's purchased
with dollars spent, as with many fun things in life. And we each have different fun things in our lives (I hope).